Criminal law

Alia Waziri in a new book


“Consent in and of itself is very difficult to decipher,” she said in an interview with The Quintet. “It muddies the waters.”


casing In a Woman’s Body: Essays on Law, Gender, and Society.


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casingIn a Woman’s Body: Essays on Law, Gender, and Society.

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“Talking about consent in criminal law is probably the most important conversation we need to have,” Delhi High Court Advocate Alia Waziri said in an interview with MEE. Quint About her new book titled In a Woman’s Body: Essays on Law, Gender, and Society.

Here are some highlights from the interview in which Waziri talks about the issue of consent, the changing landscape of violence against women online, and what motivated her to write this book in the first place.

Q: What is your new book about? What are the big issues it explores?

A: You’ve tried to talk about the gender landscape, and it’s very broad and flexible because there are a lot of things that we don’t look at through a gender angle but fall within the scope of what we call gender issues or something. This has a gender aspect and we ignore it.

For example, I try to look at female participation in the workforce or the witch hunt, something that isn’t covered frequently in the mainstream media.

Of course, I also look at more regular topics like marriage or rape and anti-rape laws and the changes they have undergone over the years, after Nirbhaya or after the 1972 Mathura rape case.

Then I look at the need for anti-harassment laws on the Internet, and much to do with India’s international obligations arising from the multilateral agreements and agreements we’ve signed up to as well.


Q: What is the most challenging aspect of gender issues to write about in the book? And which issues do you think are the most important of all the issues you touched on?

A: I think my answer to your question is the same. The topic that was the most challenging and important was the chapter on consent. I find that there is an area of ​​crime that falls within what we call the gray area, that is, crimes that are not punishable, that are not criminalized but feel wrong because there is a problem with deciphering consent.

It is very difficult to decipher consent in and of itself. It muddies the waters. Makes things twisted. So I think talking about consent in criminal law is probably the most important conversation we need to have, not just under this book, but more generally. It is Faruqi’s rule, now the law of the land, that talks about how “a weak no is a yes.”

I can’t stress this enough and I can’t stop focusing on how much we have skewed our understanding of consent by assuming that a “weak no is a yes.” Not only was this chapter the hardest to write, it was also the most relevant. this is the most important. I think it all boils down to this pivotal conversation that we need to have because our laws and legislation do not define consent positively. He is talking about what consent does not mean, rather than what consent is.

Question: As a lawyer, which aspect of Indian law in relation to gender issues do you think needs to be reformulated the most?

A: I think we need a separate, targeted law, and specialized legislation that speaks to the changing landscape of violence against women online with the advent of technology. I have said this every day, written it down in my articles or explained it in my interviews.

What happens is that we have two pieces of laws that deal with cyber crimes and online harassment against women, which are the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act.

Now, first, the IPC predates the advent of technology. Secondly, the Information Technology Act was drafted to promote electronic commerce. It was not formulated keeping in mind the challenges women face nowadays due to technology and social media. So what happens is that these two laws are insufficient to deal with the amount of problems that social media brings with it.

They are incompetent. It is inadequate in terms of dealing with the wide range of issues that social media and technology in general pose to women.

Q: Finally, what prompted you to write this book?

A: I never planned to write a book. I have written about what was normal for me during my limited time practicing law before the courts in Delhi, and then during my two years with the United Nations, when I worked with UN Women. I did not realize it then, but I was subconsciously writing to fill the gap that I thought had arisen where we should have had literature that answered and criticized the loopholes in the law in India. So I guess I was writing to find answers to the questions I had, and this book is a product of that.

(At The Quint, we are only accountable to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by become a members. Because the truth is worth it.)


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